Microsoft licenses Adobe's Flash Lite: The motives in a nutshell

Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash Lite, a mobile version of Flash Player, along with Reader LE. As part of the deal OEMs that license Windows Mobile will get Adobe's mobile Flash and Reader.

Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash Lite, a mobile version of Flash Player, along with Reader LE. As part of the deal OEMs that license Windows Mobile will get Adobe's mobile Flash and Reader.

In a statement (Techmeme, Andy Plesser's video demo), the companies said Microsoft's licensing of Adobe's Flash Lite will provide a "vibrant" Web experience, but let's cut to the chase. Why is there a licensing deal when Microsoft has Silverlight, a Flash rival?

Here's a look at the motives:

  • Microsoft's Silverlight (all resources) isn't ready for mobile use so the software giant has to do something to make Windows Mobile more capable of delivering rich media.
  • Microsoft can license Flash Lite and learn about making Silverlight mobile friendly for future use. Call it license and learn.
  • Adobe wants to make Flash Lite appear relevant after Apple CEO Steve Jobs threw the software under the bus. It's a bit strange that Adobe is on the defensive when Flash Lite is on 500 million mobile devices, but incorporating Flash into the iPhone is a critical if not pressing need.

In other words, this licensing pact is a merger of convenience that will be irrelevant years from now.